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Hering Joins FAPC Board

Published: 12/27/2016
Author: Lisa M. Keefe
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Hering_Erica_PRErica Hering, in 2015 the first female chosen to lead the American Association of Meat Processors, has joined the advisory board of Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center (FAPC).

Appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, Hering, co-owner and corporate fiscal officer of Ralph’s Packing Co., will be one of 16 board members to help oversee the center’s mission and vision.

“FAPC has such a strong and prominent reputation in Oklahoma and nationwide, and I feel the IAC has been a primary influence on the direction of FAPC over the years. There are many changes and challenges coming to our industry, and I’m very excited to be a part of such a diverse and knowledgeable committee, which will help guide FAPC through these changes,” Hering said, in a news release about her board appointment.

Hering is a third-generation leader in the family business, serving Perkins and surrounding communities since the 1950s. Ralph’s Packing Co. is a complete meat-processing company, specializing in high-quality smoked and fresh-meat products.

In addition to growing up working in the family’s small meat plant, Hering also has served on the board of directors of state and national meat-processing associations.

“Through all of my personal experience with my family’s meat plant, as well as my experience on national and regional meat boards, I feel I bring a unique perspective of the small-to-medium sizes meat-processing facilities,” she said.

FAPC has had a strong relationship with Ralph’s Packing Co. since the center’s inception in 1997. The company has benefited from several FAPC services throughout the past 20 years, including nutritional labeling, custom processing, food safety seminars, social media training and product testing.

“Ralph’s Packing Co. has been transformed into a contemporary specialty meats business under the able leadership of Ms. Hering,” said FAPC Director Roy Escoubas, in the release. “Her experience in the family business and leadership with multiple meat-processing organizations make her an excellent resource to the committee.”

AAMP and AMSA Announce the 2017 PORK 101 Courses

AMSAChampaign, IL, December 20, 2016 – The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) and the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) are excited to announce that the 2017 PORK 101 courses will be held May 23-25 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and October 23-25 at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa. PORK 101 is hosted by AMSA in cooperation with the National Pork Board and is sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

Attendees will experience firsthand the swine industry from live animal production through finished pork products. The course concludes with the attendees preparing and sampling products from pork carcasses including pumped loins, bacon, hams and sausage.

These attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the value differences in swine, pork carcasses, pork primals and processed pork products from meat science faculty and AMSA members at each university.

The program features:

  • General Production Practices
  • Hog Handling
  • Grading and Live Hog Evaluation
  • Lean Value Pricing
  • Quality Management at Slaughter
  • Hands-On Pork Slaughter
  • Measuring Carcass Quality and Composition
  • Hands-On Pork Carcass Fabrication
  • Processing Technologies and Hands-On Lab
  • Retail and Consumer Hot Topics

Past attendees of the AMSA PORK 101 Course can attest to the importance of attending.

  • I can speak to the entire process of how pork is harvested now. Understanding the primals and the bone-in/boneless cuts is very important in my role.
  • This course provides an excellent foundation for anyone and all people working in the pork industry.
  • Great course! I felt like the hands-on cutting was a great learning tool where I grew more familiar with each of the cuts of pork.

PORK 101 is co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), North American Meat Institute Foundation (NAMIF) and the Southwest Meat Association (SMA). Registration for AAMP and other partnering organizations is $825. Non-member registration is $975.

For more information or questions regarding PORK 101 please visit: or contact Deidrea Mabry.

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AMSA fosters community and professional development among individuals who create and apply science to efficiently provide safe and high quality meat (defined as red meat (beef, pork and lamb), poultry, fish/seafood and meat from other managed species).

AAMP Remembers Shirley Wheat

Shirley-Wheat-1475003067It is with sad news that we announce the passing of long-time AAMP Member Shirley Wheat on September 24. Shirley and her late husband, Bill, were former owners of Cable’s Meats in Marlow, Oklahoma. Memorial services were held September 28, at the First Baptist Church, in Marlow.

She was born August 23, 1934, in White Hall, Illinois. She grew up in Dumas, Texas, and graduated from Dumas High School. She attended the Northwest Texas School of Nursing and became a nurse practitioner. She furthered her education and earned her Masters Degree at Vanderbilt University.

Shirley moved to Marlow, Oklahoma in 1970. She worked with the Stephens County Health Department for 23 years. She started about a dozen home health clinics in Southwestern Oklahoma and worked closely with unwed mothers. She was honored with Marlow’s Outstanding Women Award in 1991 and earned the state’s top honor for nursing, the Sadin Award.

Shirley married Bill on May 28, 1983, in Marlow. She became involved with the meat industry after she and Bill were married. Although her own career had been in the field of nursing, she began to attend state and national meat conventions. She lent her unbridled enthusiasm and energy to AAMP and served on the 1995 AAMP Convention Planning Committee as well as helped with various meat contests.

Bill was very active in AAMP, serving on the Board of Directors in 1985 and served as the 2nd Vice President in 1988. He attended his first AAMP convention in 1976 and rarely missed attending conventions in the years following.

The Wheats were awarded the AAMP Achievement Award in 1996, during the 57th American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition, in Louisville, Kentucky. The Achievement Award, AAMP’s highest honor, is bestowed for service to the association and the meat industry.

Those who knew Shirley best, knew she loved people and the Marlow community. She gave of herself as a tireless volunteer for the Marlow Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years, as an active member of the Delta Sigma Sorority for many years and she worked as a devoted Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Marlow for over 30 years. Shirley truly enjoyed helping others and helped numerous brides plan and prepare for their special day as a wedding planner. Shirley shared her talent by sewing costumes for high school musicals and church dramas. She will be remembered for her caring spirit and deeply missed by family and friends.

Online condolences may be made at

Bill and Shirley Wheat receive the Achievement Award in 1996.

Bill and Shirley Wheat receive the Achievement Award in 1996.

Doug Hankes Installed as AAMP’s 2016-17 President

Doug Hankes (1)Doug Hankes of Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats, Galesburg, Illinois, was recently elected president of the American Association of Meat Processors during the 77th American Convention of Meat Processors and Suppliers’ Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska.

A 2nd generation meat processor, Hankes graduated in 2004 from the University of Illinois where he majored in meat and food technology. After graduation and completing several internships, he returned home to his family business where he currently serves as vice president of operations.

Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats has served the West Central Illinois area since 1978. In 2007, it became a federally inspected plant. In 2004, the business received over $4 million dollars in renovations. Slaughtering operations were shut down in April of this year to focus on creating shelf stable meat snacks, sausages, hams, and bacons. “My interest in college was shelf stable meat snacks,” said Hankes. “I helped our company head in that direction as a result.” Thrushwood Farms Quality Meat’s products have won championship awards in the Illinois Association of Meat Processors contests, the American Cured Meat Championships (ACMC), and most recently, the DFV-AAMP IFFA Quality Competition for Sausage & Ham.

Hankes is heavily involved in his local community, focusing on economic development of the Galesburg area through various organizations. He is also an active member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

His dedication to the industry is evident through his involvement at the state and national levels. He is a past president of the Illinois Association of Meat Processors. At the national level, he has served on various AAMP committees and has presented over 12 times at past conventions.

During his presidency, Hankes hopes to continue to give members valuable information that they can take back to their plants, as well as continuing to support the association in providing new ideas and resources for the membership. “My goal is to get more of our membership to our convention,” he said. “The information you can take back from an AAMP convention is invaluable. Anyone can come to our convention and learn a ton.”

He added, “One of the biggest values of AAMP to me is the member-only section of the website. We as a company are always looking on there for new information. AAMP is there for you 24/7 whether someone is on the phone or not.”

Hankes succeeds Erica Hering, Ralph’s Packing Company, Perkins, OK, who will remain on the AAMP Board of Directors as the immediate past president. Chad Lottman, C&C Processing, Diller, NE, was elected 1st Vice President; Rick Reams, RJ’s Meats, Hudson, WI, was elected 2nd Vice President; Dwight Ely, Ely Farm Products, Newtown, PA, was elected 3rd Vice President; and Louis Muench, Louie’s Finer Meats, Cumberland, WI, was elected Treasurer.

AAMP’s elected Operator Directors are Matt Elvbakken, Tizer Meats, Helena, MT; Linn Merindorf, Merindorf Meats and More, Mason, MI; Andy Cloud, Cloud’s Meats, Inc., Carthage, MO; Bill Dayton, Dayton Meat Products, Malcom, IA; Darla Kiesel, Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN; Brad Turasky, Y-T Packing, Co., Springfield, IL; Matthew Bayer, Country Fresh Meats, Weston, WI; and Greg Fisher, Fisher Packing Co., Portland, IN.

AAMP’s elected Supplier Directors are Kevin Washam, Tipper Tie, Inc., Peculiar, MO; Dave Downs, Mar/Co Sales, Burnsville, MN; and Megan Leonard, Handtmann Inc., Lake Forest, IL.

Free Webinar: Records to be Kept by Official Establishments and Retail Stores that Grind Raw Beef Products

usda-fsisThursday, September 15, 2016, 10:00 -11:00 am Eastern Time (9:00 – 10:00 am Central Time)

Retail Grinder Log Webinar Presentation (PDF Download)

The USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will conduct a Webinar on

September 15, 2016 at 10:00 am Eastern Time to discuss the final rule titled “Records to be Kept by Official Establishments and Retail Stores that Grind Raw Beef Products.”

Representatives from the FSIS’ Office of Policy and Program Development and FSIS’ Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit will provide an in-depth review of the final rule’s requirements for establishments to be compliant once enforcement starts October 1, 2016.

Participants are encouraged to ask questions during the open discussion period at the end of the presentation to ensure thorough understanding of the rule.

To participate in the Webinar, please follow the instructions below:

The conference begins at 10:00 AM Eastern Time on September 15, 2016; you may join 10 minutes prior.

Step 1:

Step 2: Instructions for connecting to conference audio will then be presented on your computer

You will be connected to the conference with the AT&T Connect Web Participant Application – there is no software download or installation required.

If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0628557# or Find an Alternate Number

If you need technical assistance, call the AT&T Help Desk at 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015.

In order to participate in the Webinar you must RSVP to Evelyn Gomez at as capacity is limited. If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Gomez at (202) 418-8903.